Pride, Bravery, and the Cliks

The Cliks Play NWT Pride in Yellowknife, NT

This past weekend marked the second annual Pride Festival in Yellowknife. I have been trying to find more opportunities to be "out" and to mentor queer youth. Last year I simply attended the festival but this year I stepped up to volunteer. I spent nearly all day at the festival site working as security at the gate to ensure no weapons or alcohol were smuggled in. I checked a lot of ID cards because everyone looked so damn young but I guess that happens when you approach 40!

There were a lot of really great workshops again this year. From the healing power of the Dene Drum, to understanding two spirit identity, all the way to good old fashioned sex education to capitalism and LGBT issues. There was a lot of great information, discussion and of course fun! (The scissoring contest was particularly hysterical)

We were honoured with the presence of Lucas Silveira and the Cliks who played both Friday and Saturday nights. Lucas did a solo gig Friday night and played with the Cliks late Saturday, the first dark hot night of the summer. Once again the Northern Lights graced the sky over the festival and gave us that little bit of northern magic.

Northern Lights Grace the pride festival once again

I didn't really know that much about Lucas or the Cliks before this year's Pride but of course we all do our internet research via Google and what I learned about the man who performed at our festival was really inspiring.

Lucas Silveira at NWT Pride 2013

There are not a lot of "visible" transfolk out there. Probably because it is still a very vulnerable place to be. Despite the fact that the din over sexuality is hushing in Canada and parts of the US there are still places in this world where it's not ok to be any degree of queer. Lucas has decided either consciously or by happenstance to stand out and be recognized as trans and take all the crap that comes along with that position. Being out front is like being the lead goose on a long migration, you get all the bugs in your teeth and have to break the wind to make it easier for everyone else coming up behind you.

Lucas Silveira. Give him a hug, tell him thanks.
Lucas is standing up and standing out and being visible but in doing so he is vulnerable in a way many of us will never understand. Bullying, ostracization, and discrimination have likely been a part of our experience as trans people. Self doubt, paranoia, loneliness as well. Yet it is unlikely we have experienced that as a form of public humiliation as Lucas has being in the limelight. Having editors take and twist and cut your words so that your voice is lost and castrated before even being heard is not likely something many of us have experienced. And yet here stands a soft spoken and gentle man ready to take the brunt of crap for all of us and often without gratitude or appreciation. But it is events like pride that let us see ourselves and be proud so that we can stand beside the ones out front. It is our time to stand up and take the hands of the ones who have been fighting and let them rest. Let's show them they are not alone and that despite all they feel they are carrying on their shoulders we are holding them up upon ours.

Thank you Lucas, for everything.

No comments: